Bike-riding ban rules changed, slightly

One week after a barrel of crude oil hit an all-time high, and at the end of summer in which perceived parking problems topped local political babble, Chico State University has imposed greater restrictions on campus bicycle use, though not as much as some wanted.

Initially going against the recommendations of its own Bicycle Riding Policy Subcommittee, the school has expanded its rule against biking on campus to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Up till now the rule was from 7 a.m. until 10:30 p.m.

The area of no-riding has been expanded to include First Avenue from Normal to Bell Memorial Union.

The crack-down on campus bike use was initiated last fall by University Police Chief Leslie Deniz, who wanted to close off all of First as well as Normal and Chestnut to riders.

University President Paul Zingg compromised.

“I have referred the recommendation on a new policy back to the campus committee that oversees these things because I think that what has been recommended as changes are not satisfactory,” he said in a message left with the News & Review.

Chico State public relations man Joe Wills said the school wants to increase the “safety quotient.”

“The police have been getting reports of people jetting across campus on bikes late at night,” Will said. Those bikers, he suggested, are not hurrying to class but more likely involved in dubious activities.

Local bicycle advocate Ed McLaughlin said he was concerned that restricting areas where students can ride on campus sends the wrong message.

“The city took the bronze medal for bike-friendly status from the League of American Bicyclists last year,” McLaughlin said. “One of the conditions for the silver was improvement of access on and to the CSU campus.”

Zingg, in a statement accompanying the announced changes said, “While bicycles are an important means for students and others to get to campus, bicycle riding—as well as the use of other transportation devices—can be a safety issue in pedestrian areas. With this in mind, the riding of bicycles as well as skateboards, rollerblades, scooters, and Segways (new two-wheel transporters) are prohibited in the core of our campus 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”